Well now, I’ve got me an LED light which fits on the wall and shines when you walk past it in the dark. It charges via the sun and has a solar panel on the top. On the current US Amazon listing it’s $16.99.
First up, it’s waterproof, which is always a good start if you’re going to have this outside. Secondly, it’s got a number of sensors inside – two to detect movement as you walk past and another to see just how dark it’s getting.
It measures in at around 15cm x 10 x 5.6cm and fixes to your wall. The first thing you’ll need to do though is decide where to put it, and it’s best not to stick it under a gutter or any sort of over-hang because you’re going to need to get as much daylight into the solar panel at the top as you can. If you’ve got the option of putting it in a different place, try and get the spot where the sun shines the most. Putting it in the shade just won’t help.
In the box you’ll find a couple of screws, some 3M tape (for sticking this onto a flat surface) and a little user manual. I chose to use the screws and I made sure that it was placed so that the tilted solar panel was facing in the right direction.
On each side of the light you’ll see a couple of balls – these sensors detect movement and are particularly good at detecting “passing” traffic going from right to left or vice versa.
Pretty simple huh? Well indeed, around the back there’s a switch for turning the device on and off. Flick that on before you mount it to the wall – it’s shielded in a rubber cover. At the front, there’s a couple of rubber buttons.
On the right there’s an “On” button…
– Press this once and the light will glow constantly
– Press this again and it’ll switch to a constant-on colour-changing light.
– Press a third time and it’ll turn off.
The “Auto” button on the left is to detect movement, so…
– Press this once and the LED lights will glow white when someone gets close and then a colour-changing light for 30 seconds when they walk out of range.
– Press again and it’ll glow super-bright when someone is close and then will dim to a less-bright white light for 30 seconds when they walk out of range.
– Press a third time and it’ll glow at 100% “super-bright” and will then turn off immediately after you walk out of range.
– A fourth press will turn it off.
You can get one or many of these and possibly have them lighting up your driveway or perhaps as a security light outside or near your garage. Inside there’s a 18650 rechargeable battery and the makers tell me that it’ll last for 8 hours after a full charge.
To be honest, LED lighting has really stepped up a level in the last few years – the 12 LED’s here and very bright and, although not as bright as the big security light I’ve got mounted elsewhere, it fills a space very well and means that you can pop out to your bins, play a bit of late-night football or head to your car in sufficient light.
This particular model has a couple of operating modes – for me, I was using it as a security light and as a way to light up our garden so that I could head out the bins. You can also have a red / green / blue or white LED showing constantly when it gets dark. If you have a few of these mounted on your driveway then it can be a welcoming sight as you return home.
During the day, the 1200mAh battery will be charged by the 5V / 110mA monocrystalline silicon panel. Fixing it to the wall is easy enough and I turned it on immediately. To test (in the daylight) you’ll need to cover the solar panel. This makes the light activate.
To be honest, I wasn’t holding up much hope for this. I’ve had garden lights in the past – those ornamental lights that you put in flower beds. They might work for a few brief hours before going flat, but I was pleasantly surprised – this LED light was very bright, it bathed the area well and charged enough to work – particularly as a security light. The sensors had a wide angle of detection and spotted me in each of my tests. They worked very well indeed even considering their size.
Overall, a very good solar-powered external light which I’ll happily recommend. Here’s just how bright it gets at night…